By Kristen Castillo
Start the day with oatmeal! One standard serving, which is half a cup of rolled oats cooked in water, contains just 80 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein, as well as calcium and iron.
Oatmeal has soluble fiber, which soaks up cholesterol and can significantly lower blood levels of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, which is a marker for cardiovascular disease risk. Adding fruit or nuts to your oatmeal adds more fiber, too, potentially helping to lower your cholesterol even more. The fiber also can make you feel fuller longer, which is ideal when you don’t want to get hungry between breakfast and lunch.
Oatmeal has been around for centuries, but the Greeks and Romans didn’t eat it. Instead, they fed it to their animals! In Colonial America, Scottish and Dutch settlers used it to make porridges, baked goods and puddings.
These days, oatmeal is still popular for breakfasts, desserts and toppings, too. An oatmeal fun fact? Vermont is the top state for oatmeal consumption!
Think all oatmeal is the same? Think again. According to the Whole Grains Council, here’s a breakdown of what to expect in the oatmeal aisle:
These are the oatmeal packets you see at the grocery store. They’re cooked, dried and rolled, then slipped into those packets. While instant oats cook quickly, they are often loaded with sugar and salt. Since instant oatmeal is processed to cook fast, it won’t be as satisfying as other oatmeal cuts, which are slower to digest.
Quick Cook Oats
Think of quick oats as the middle ground between rolled and instant oats. Quick oats are rolled oats that are cut into small pieces. Just as the name implies, they cook quickly.
Old Fashioned or Rolled Oats
Also called rolled oats, old fashioned oats are steamed and rolled into flakes.
Also called Irish oatmeal, steel-cut oats are cut into two or three pieces using a sharp metal blade. They’re thicker than other oats and often have a nutty taste. This type of oatmeal has the most nutrients of all oatmeal. It’s slow to digest, helping you feel full longer.
Want to enjoy oatmeal out at a restaurant? Check out these tasty and healthy options at Healthy Dining restaurants!